, Pierced screen [jali] Enlarge 1 /1
Mughal dynasty, Shah Jahan period (1628-1658) India
Pierced screen [jali] 1630-50 Description: with trellis design enclosing flowerheads
Place made: Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
Materials & Technique: sculptures, red sandstone
Dimensions: 125.0 h x 104.0 w x 7.5 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2005
Accession No: NGA 2005.148
Provenance:
  • The supplied chain of ownership for this object is being reviewed and further research is underway. The provenance information listed has been substantiated by documentation. Details may be refined and updated as research progresses.
  • with art dealer Francesca Galloway of Francesca Galloway Ltd, London, 2005 or before
  • who sold it to the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2005 for GBP 28,000

The buildings commissioned by the Mughal emperors were grand and luxurious, but also reflected a practical approach to the harsh Indian climate. Pierced stone screens, known as jali, were used widely in Indian architecture as windows, room dividers and railings. They were often incorporated into external walls, especially those of women’s quarters. The openwork permitted light and air to enter while protecting the interior from both public view and the heat of the sun. Jali screens also created the visually pleasing effect of geometric patterns of light and shade, changing with the time of day.

This delicate red sandstone latticework screen is from Bharatpur in Rajasthan, northern India. It displays a cusped arch within a frame. The arch contains interconnected medallions in a trellis design, each enclosing decorative scrolling and flower heads. This floral design is typical of art produced during the reign of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. In addition to architecture, the motif of a flower within a trellis decorated many objects from the time, including textiles, carpets and manuscripts.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008

The buildings commissioned by the Mughal emperors were grand and luxurious, but also reflected a practical approach to the harsh Indian climate. Pierced stone screens, known as jali, were used widely in Indian architecture as windows, room dividers and railings. They were often incorporated into external walls, especially those of the women’s quarters. The openwork permitted light and air to enter while protecting the interior from public view and the heat of the sun. Jali screens also created the visually pleasing effect of geometric patterns of light and shade, changing with the time of day. Unusually, this jali panel is equally finely worked on both faces.

The delicate red sandstone latticework screen is from Bharatpur in Rajasthan, northern India. It displays a cusped arch within a frame. The arch contains interconnected medallions in a trellis design, each enclosing decorative scrolling and flower heads. The floral design is typical of art produced during the reign of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. In addition to architecture, the motif of a flower within a trellis decorated many objects of the time, including textiles and manuscripts.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2014
From: Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2014

Description

This is a pierced stone screen (c1628-58) of a style that was used widely in Indian architecture as windows, room dividers and railings from the Mughal dynasty, Shah Jahan period, India. The sculpture is shown as an enlargeable image. Text on screen gives information about the context of the work of art, incorporated into external walls of women’s quarters in buildings commissioned by Mughal emperors. The interior was protected from public view and the heat of the sun, while the latticework permitted light and air to enter. The sculpture measures 125.0 cm high x 104.0 cm wide x 7.5 cm deep and was carved out of red sandstone.

Educational value

  • This is an excellent resource for the Responding strand in the visual arts curriculum in the 7-8 and 9-10 year bands, especially for those content descriptions that refer to considering the broader context of arts works, such as the social, cultural and historical context and role of the artist and of the audience/s.
  • The resource is useful for the Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia cross-curriculum priority. It connects with the priority’s organising idea about the arts and literature of Asia influencing aesthetic and creative pursuits within Australia, the region and globally.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

The buildings commissioned by the Mughal emperors were grand and luxurious but also reflected a practical approach to the rigours of the Indian climate. Pierced stone screens (jali) were used widely in Indian architecture as windows, room dividers and railings. They were also incorporated into external walls. The openwork permitted light and air to enter interior spaces while protecting them from the heat of the sun.

This cusped arch encloses cartouches with flower-heads, a design typical of Mughal art produced during the reign of Shah Jahan (1627–1658). In addition to architecture, the motif of a flower within a trellis decorated many objects from the time including textiles, carpets and manuscripts.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label